To mark National Chip Week, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind people to take safety steps when cooking with hot oil.
Chip pan fires are not uncommon in Northamptonshire. In the year 2014-2015, 168 fires in this county were linked to cooking and, of these, 24 were associated with the use of a chip pan or deep fat fryer.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service would discourage the use of chip pans, but for those who use them, there are basic safety messages to remember.
Area manager Mark Ainge, who leads the joint Prevention and Community Protection Department for Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: When water is introduced to very hot oil, the water converts to steam at an expansion ratio of 1500: 1.
“It is shocking to think that a droplet of water will instantly multiply by 1,500 times and can lead to fatal injuries. The short film illustrates this very well.
He continued: I remember one particular kitchen fire I attended in Northampton. As we arrived we saw a man through the window. He was in the process of pouring water into a blazing chip pan. The flames quickly engulfed the man, setting fire to his clothing and the kitchen blinds.
This was devastating to watch. I will always remember this and I really do not want to see this image again or think that others may suffer in this way. I ask that we all take note of this safety advice, enjoy cooking and stay safe in the kitchen.
I would remind anyone who uses chip pans to take great care. It is important to remember that oil is too hot when it starts smoking. If a fire breaks out, never pour water over it as the effects can be devastating.
National Chip Week runs from Monday, February 15 to Sunday, February 21.
Chip pan safety messages:
-If the oil starts to smoke, it s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
-Don t overfill a chip pan with oil. Never fill it more than one third full.
-Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil, so it doesn t splash.
-Consider using a thermostat-controlled, electric deep fat fryer instead of a traditional chip fan, as they cannot overheat.
In case a pan catches fire:
-Turn the heat off if it is safe to do so.
-Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
-Do not use an extinguisher on a chip pan fire as the force from the extinguisher may cause the flames to spread.
-Get out, stay out and call 999.
General cooking safety tips:
-Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when you are cooking something on the hob. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.
-Do not leave cooking unattended.
-Take care if you are wearing loose clothing as this can catch fire.
-Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
-Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they don t have a naked flame.
-Double check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking.
-Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
-Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
-Do not put anything metal in a microwave.